Written by Kate Billing, Founder & Creative Director, Blacksmith

A 2 minute read.

In last week’s virtual mini-workshop, I shared one of the conversation frameworks from our Leading Change Programme – simple and powerful tool for a conversation with yourself, your work team, and your home team.

This framework provides a structure for taking a breath, stepping back and looking at your current experience through a mental model of what’s changing and what’s not.

It’s natural for humans to equate change with loss. If things are changing, especially things that are out of our control, then we must be “losing out” and things must be “getting worse”. Especially in ‘the current situation’, where there is barely a single thing in our experience which at least appears to be left untouched.

The framework uses TWO spans of time to contrast our experience: (1) what we experienced before the change and (2) what we are experiencing now.

We then use FOUR simple questions to explore our experience of change between those two spans of time:

  • Question ONE – what could we do before that we can stilI do now?
  • Question TWO – what couldn’t we do before that we still can’t do now?

Answering these two questions allows us to see what’s NOT changing – for good or otherwise. There is still plenty that’s still the same and acknowledging this tends to bring a feeling of peace and calm in the midst of the perceived chaos of an ‘all change’ environment.

  • Question THREE – what could we do before that we can’t do now?

This is where we begin to put our attention on what HAS changed. Sometimes this comes with sadness, but it can just as easily come with relief. For example, losing a two-hour daily commute to and from work could be a relief for one person (“two more hours in my day to do other things”) or sadness (“two hours of lost thinking time, podcast-listening or quiet time on my own”) for another.

We are all DIFFERENT and we don’t experience change in the same ways, even when it’s exactly the same change!

  • Question FOUR – what couldn’t we do before that we can do now?

With this question, we draw our attention to what we have gained as a result of the change. What are the things that were previously unavailable to us (perhaps even unseen) that we can now do,  the benefits and opportunities that we can now take advantage of because things are different?

Making sense of change_convo model

(A simple graphic model for the structure of this conversation)

There is a FIFTH bonus question at the end…but you’ll have to watch the video recording at the bottom of this blog to get that one!

The simplest questions are often the best so just ask them and let the answers come, be it from yourself in your journal, or in a conversation with your work team, home team, or community.

At the end of last week’s workshop I asked the group who they thought they could have this conversation with and their answers included:

  • My children
  • My friend
  • My team
  • My leadership team
  • My neighbours
  • My customers
  • My partner
  • My Team Manager
  • My siblings
  • Anybody!

So, what’s not changing for you and what is?

Watch the session video recording at the bottom of this blog and then give the framework a go!

(A wee heads up…Rookie Mistake…I pressed pause when I put the group into their first breakout and forgot to restart it for a bit so the Question FOUR set up is missing, but it’s all covered, above.)

At the end of the workshop I asked the group to provide a ONE WORD check-out about how they were feeling as a result of our hour together. The most frequently-used words were grateful, energised, inspired, grounded, focused, positive, and connected. I’ll call that a success : )

(I unpack the conversation framework 4.17 mins into the video…enjoy)


P.S: If you haven’t already, sign up to join our growing Fully Human Tribe HERE or at the bottom of this page and we’ll keep you posted with upcoming events, new thinking and development opportunities!